136 posts tagged with biography.
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What books are similar to these?

I really enjoy reading semi-novel style books on the story of companies and technology. Do you have any recommendations for me? [more inside]
posted by gadha on Oct 24, 2016 - 10 answers

Refresh my podcasts

I need new podcasts to listen to! I like two kinds of podcasts: 1) high-production, good sound design, on almost any topic (think 99% Invisible, RadioLab) and 2) historical and/or biographical topics (Everything is Stories, Backstory, Criminal). And a few others. But my playlist has gone stale -- refresh me? Examples of what I already like and dislike are inside. [more inside]
posted by OrangeDisk on Sep 19, 2016 - 24 answers

Biographies of interesting women

Mefites, I trust you way more than the random lists on Goodreads. Could you suggest some recent-ish biographies of interesting, mostly not-very-well-known women? [more inside]
posted by Janta on Sep 4, 2016 - 32 answers

A book full of sex and drugs and rock and roll, but not about musicians?

I need book recommendations (or genres?) that I can find at my public library tomorrow. Not musician biographies. [more inside]
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup on Aug 15, 2016 - 22 answers

Seeking great subject-matter introductions for a voraciously curious kid

My ten-year old son wants to understand everything. He is a voracious reader and doesn't confine himself to kids books. He loves reading the newspaper (NYTimes, Boston Globe), fiction, and non-fiction books. He's old enough to really learn things by reading. Agatha Christie is fun, but he's ready for more than that. He's full of questions about society, politics, science, economics. I'd like to get him some books that will expand his mind, begin answering his questions, and show him how the world fits together. [more inside]
posted by alms on Jul 1, 2016 - 43 answers

Looking for profiles of people who dared to attempt big life changes.

I'm curious to read up on folks who decided give up one life for another, entirely different life. Could be individuals or entire families. Could be a different career, a different place in the world, a different identity. Extra points for a bunch of profiles of this sort of thing. Also, they don't have to be happy endings, necessarily. Stories of chasing the dream and failing are fine, too. I've taken a look for this sort of thing, and I'm a little surprised I haven't turned anything up.
posted by harold on Jun 8, 2016 - 19 answers

The history of the world is but the biography of great men. - Carlyle

When my mother was a child, she had a book that was 100 short biographies of "great men of history". I am wondering if such a book exists for the modern age. [more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Jun 6, 2016 - 8 answers

Good recent biographies or autobiographies (books preferred)?

For a friend's birthday, we are looking for good recent (last 5 - 10 years) biographies or autobiographies. Books are best (and available as paper rather than ebooks), though if there is an excellent movie available as a dvd that would work also. [more inside]
posted by gudrun on May 2, 2016 - 21 answers

Looking for biographies (and maybe fiction) depicting loyalty to royalty

I'm interested in the historical fact that there were individuals (and families) who were fiercely loyal to a royal family and served them. In terms of suggestions from most to least ideal, I'm interested in (1) biographies that depict this loyalty, (2) fictional depictions of this loyalty, and (3) individuals who this describes. And to be a bit more clear on the situation I'm interested in: (1) the individual served the royal family in some significant capacity and perhaps ideally had a personal relationship with the royal family (they weren't just peasants who admired the royal family from afar), and (2) the individual was ideologically supportive if not passionate about the royal family and the monarch (they weren't just performing their duties to make a living). Thanks!
posted by Dalby on Mar 29, 2016 - 16 answers

How to pick one biography of many?

How do you decide which biography to read when there are several for a given person? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Mar 8, 2016 - 12 answers

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story to preschoolers?

My four-year-old is as obsessed with Hamilton as I am. He is full of Alexander Hamilton facts and keeps sing "Oceans rise, empires faaaaaaall" with Broadway gestures. We need some high-quality Founding Father (and/or Mother!) children's books! Obviously the big gets are the guys from the musical: Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. But we will also accept Franklin, Jay, lesser founders, and assorted wives and girlfriends. And I suppose Aaron Burr, sir. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Nov 4, 2015 - 21 answers

Help me find this shy 20th-century British male writer

Two or so years ago, I read the beginning of a biography of a writer, probably a poet. I know he was a young man in England during World War I who was not able to serve in the war due to a medical condition. But that is all I am certain about -- I have vague memories of a few further details that I could easily be confusing with stories from other people's lives, or even from novels. [more inside]
posted by jeudi on Oct 11, 2015 - 7 answers

Which Pope Francis Biography Should I Buy for My Aunt?

My aunt mentioned that she would like a biography of Pope Francis. So I naively thought I'd just go online and buy her one. But of course it turns out that there are lots and lots of biographies. Which one should I get? [more inside]
posted by If only I had a penguin... on Sep 27, 2015 - 6 answers

Wouldn't it be nice to learn more about Brian Wilson?

I'd like to learn more about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. What biographies should I read? [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Sep 17, 2015 - 8 answers

Question about the Sheckley ouvre

I think a lot of (speculative fiction author) Robert Sheckley's work is brilliant and masterful. Especially the stuff he published in the 1950s and 1960s. But I've wondered for years why there was such a sharp decline in quality in it around the 1970s and thereafter. Does anybody know? [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice on Jul 1, 2015 - 7 answers

Impressionism, gardening, biography, art

Looking for biographical material about Claude Monet. Want to know something about his inner life, not so much his place in art history. I want to know about his ideas about gardening, life, love and family. Not much out there I can find.
posted by NorthCoastCafe on May 19, 2015 - 4 answers

What are the rules for working with a literary executor?

I am working on a partially biographical essay about a well-known writer who died in the past ten years, leaving an extensive collection of papers and correspondence. I will meet with his literary executor soon. However, I have realized that I don't have a clear sense of an executor's responsibilities or what it is appropriate to expect. For example, is it reasonable to request access to materials that are not yet archived? Help me with the rules and etiquette of primary biographical research so that I can establish a good working relationship with the executor.
posted by GeorgieYeats on Mar 26, 2015 - 0 answers

Help me find these "Great People" flashcards from my youth.

Listening to the Hardcore History podcast about Ghengis Khan recently, I was reminded of a set of flash-card type things that I remember having when I was growing up. The cards featured a picture of a "great person" on the front, and a short write-up about him or her (but honestly I think they were mostly men) on the back. Can you help me find a set of them? [more inside]
posted by hwickline on Feb 15, 2015 - 8 answers

I want the easiest-reading, most engrossing history books.

Tell me the history books you've read that you could not put down. History of just about anything, but especially historically significant people, say, before WWI. [more inside]
posted by fingersandtoes on Jan 25, 2015 - 38 answers

Break a Leg!

I'm looking for books or blogs about actors trying to break into show business. Fiction or non-fiction. [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Dec 9, 2014 - 13 answers

Biographies of interesting lives

I'm looking to read about the interesting, fascinating, and crazy lives people have lived. Any recommendations for biographies of people that have led fascinating lives?
posted by markbao on Nov 20, 2014 - 34 answers

What happens when they make a movie about you?

My cousin was married for years to an infamous criminal and all-around bad guy--let's call him John. John is infamous only to people in and scholars of his particular professional sector; the world at large isn't aware of him. John is no longer living. ~20 years ago, a local reporter wrote a book about him, which of course included his wife, my cousin. The book made a brief stir but was quickly forgotten, my cousin has moved on, and life continues ... except I've recently heard rumors that someone may have optioned the book for a movie. So now what? [more inside]
posted by rhiannonstone on Oct 7, 2014 - 10 answers

inspirational books/biographies about the non-fiction writing life?

I'm neck deep in writing an academic book at the moment, and on the worst days I lose the will to live. To dislodge myself from the daily temptation to nuke the whole manuscript, slit my wrists and be done with it all, I've been trying to keep motivated by reading good accounts of the life of writers. I would love recommendations! Details inside. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Jul 18, 2014 - 4 answers

Help me find some new books to love.

I am looking for something in the area of science biography. Particularly, I enjoy reading about the inner lives of great minds. I'm not really interested in gossipy type info, but more about the personal growth and development of the scientist him/herself that paralleled their work. [more inside]
posted by JanewayJunior on Feb 22, 2014 - 18 answers

Yes, I've seen Titanic.

I'm interested in stories (real or fictional) about people who have intentionally changed their identities following some sort of disaster in which they were presumed dead.
posted by phunniemee on Feb 11, 2014 - 31 answers

Cookery books that don't have recipes in them

What are some books, cookery or otherwise about food, that contain stories about people's memories of/experiences with food and eating? [more inside]
posted by Solomon on Jan 11, 2014 - 60 answers

Recommendations for biographies of big thinkers

I just finished reading Jeremy Adelman's biography of Albert O. Hirschman. I loved the book because it vividly explained Hirschman's ideas (he was an economist and scholar of political thought) and because Hirschman had a fascinating and compelling life story. Can you recommend biographies of major thinkers in the social sciences and philosophy?
posted by EtTuHealy on Sep 9, 2013 - 4 answers

Biographies where the subject dies long before the book ends

Can you recommend any well regarded biographies where the subject dies long before the end of the book? (The latter half of the book could be focused on the reaction to their death, an examination of the impact of their ideas or work over the following decades, etc.)
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Jul 22, 2013 - 6 answers

Where can I read the diary of charles whitman the texas shooter

The texas clocktower shooter had a diary seen here that looks like it was published but where can I read it?
posted by john123357 on Jun 25, 2013 - 2 answers

Looking for inspiring autobiographies of sucessful people

I'd like them to be gripping and entertaining as well. As in, I could read them before going to bed without falling asleep out of boredom. Focus on successful entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists.
posted by spacefire on Apr 19, 2013 - 6 answers

Who are the students from east Asia?

I don't know how else to phrase this maladroit and overlong "question," but… who are the foreign undergraduate and graduate students? [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Apr 6, 2013 - 13 answers

Storytellers, thinkers, and musicians who are worth fully engaging with?

I believe I may suffer from a derth of artistic and intellectual heroes. Help me fix that. What artists and thinkers are worth engaging with fully as an adult? By "engaging with fully," I mean making a concerted effort to consume all of their output, several times, as well as seeking out supplementary information about them by way of interviews, criticism, documentaries, collected letters, biographies, etc. etc. [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Mar 15, 2013 - 50 answers

Actor portrayls of noted authors & or philosophers

After viewing the excellent "A Man for All Seasons" IMDb and the BBC's Kierkegaard - Sea of Faith YouTube I'm in want of viewing other portraryls of noted authors & philosphers. What are your recommendations? [more inside]
posted by MeatyBean on Oct 11, 2012 - 8 answers

Family Secrets on Film

Documentaries about ordinary people, their secrets and inner lives. [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Sep 21, 2012 - 36 answers

Good Borgia histories?

Recommend to me biographies/histories of the Borgia Pope and family? [more inside]
posted by asciident on Sep 3, 2012 - 5 answers


Help me find a way to get others to tell stories about my long-deceased father online. I'm thinking a Wikipedia-type, open-source place where folks can go and log in (or not) and add their portions of the story of his life. I imagine childhood friends sharing vignettes from 5th grade, high school girlfriends, co-workers, people I don't have access to adding stories.
posted by kristymcj on Aug 15, 2012 - 2 answers

Hundred-Year-Old Job Descriptions?

Where can I find job descriptions for jobs from the 1850s-1950s? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Jul 31, 2012 - 6 answers

Where can I find accounts of non-anglophone eccentrics?

Britain is famed for celebrating its eccentrics, followed closely by America and Ireland. Elsewhere - maybe not so much. I'm sure they must exist, but I'm having trouble finding them. [more inside]
posted by BWA on Jul 24, 2012 - 18 answers

Tesla Biography

Which biography of Nikola Tesla should I read?
posted by bytewrite on Jul 21, 2012 - 5 answers

Memoirs from Scientists

Looking for more memoirs from scientists, along the lines of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Robert Sopolsky's A Primate's Memoir, and Daniel Everett's Don't Sleep There Are Snakes. [more inside]
posted by Curiosity Delay on Jun 30, 2012 - 10 answers

Looking for a good memoir/autobiography

I like first-person accounts of intellectual/professional adventure. What should I be reading? [more inside]
posted by holterbarbour on Jun 27, 2012 - 37 answers

Books on writing a memoir, with extra credit: not your own

Books on writing a memoir, with extra credit: not your own [more inside]
posted by kandinski on Jun 5, 2012 - 3 answers

Best biography of Jefferson?

Biography recommendations for Thomas Jefferson? [more inside]
posted by StephenF on Mar 26, 2012 - 6 answers

Great Escapes: Examples Thereof

I'm looking for examples (biographies, documentaries, blogs...any format, really) about people who made the decision to completely change the direction of their lives, particularly folks who went from a typical "day job/corporate career" into something less mainstream. [more inside]
posted by xingcat on Feb 21, 2012 - 13 answers

Things learned by reading biographies

How did reading a biography learn you a valuable lesson, help you gain a crucial insight, change your worldview or impact you in some other, non-trivial way? [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Feb 14, 2012 - 13 answers

Funny books by funny people

Loved Bossypants by Tina Fey! Looking for more comedic autobiographies (bonus points if the audio version is read by the author).
posted by carnivoregiraffe on Feb 13, 2012 - 27 answers

Help me think of a word that describes a fawning biography.

Help me think of a word that describes a fawning biography. [more inside]
posted by Cwell on Feb 8, 2012 - 16 answers

Daniel Webster Biography

What's the best, most readable biography of Daniel Webster? [more inside]
posted by Partial Law on Jan 24, 2012 - 2 answers

Who/what has inspired you to have more passion and better work ethic?

I'm looking for inspirational stories of people with a vision they're passionate about, and the work ethic to accomplish what they set out to. Tales that make you come away thinking "Yes, that is how I want to be living my life" and charge you up for the work you're doing. They don't have to be people you'd generally admire or seek to emulate - whatever their goals, it's that spark/drive/dedication/grit I'm most interested in. [more inside]
posted by ChristopherS on Nov 5, 2011 - 10 answers

"I'd rather sink -- than call Brad for help!"

Good Roy Lichtenstein biography? [more inside]
posted by bardic on Oct 17, 2011 - 2 answers

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